CSU is stuck chasing the goals that can define them on the pitch

Adam Williams

Colorado State soccer is in the midst of their most successful season in the program’s history.

The team has one of the best goalkeepers in the conference in redshirt junior Hunter Peifer. The keeper is third in the league in goals against on average (.892) and second in shutouts (6). 

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The Rams also have multiple standout defenders in junior Halley Havlicek and senior Beth Plentl.

They even have a mix of talented forwards and midfielders that consistently make plays for the team. But for CSU, one thing has been missing for the majority of the season, goals.

Open field, in the flow of the game goals. In other words, goals that are not the direct result of a free kick or penalty kick. Nor a goal that springs from actions of those situations. The rare own goal is not in the category either.

The Rams have tried many plans to reverse course.

Coach Bill Hempen has even resulted in pulling the goalie in a game against the University of Eastern Washington early in the season, all in an attempt to find a goal for the Rams.

“We haven’t scored a goal in regular play,” Hempen said. “So, what’s the difference if we lose by one, two, three, or four, if we’re trying to get one? We’re trying about everything we can right now.”

Hempen has reflected on the importance of a goal several times over the course of the season.

“Goals change mentalities,” Hempen said, We’re still in search of the one that’s going to change things for us.”

Only three times this season have Rams’ players scored in the open course of play. Twice against Utah State University Sept. 30 and once against the Air Force Academy Oct. 5. 

“There’s a lot of things in sports that are hard to do, and it always revolves around the scoring piece,” Hempen said. “We are creating enough chances, it’s just finishing them that has to happen next.”

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To put their woes in context, Mountain West foe Boise State University boasts the most prolific scorer in the country in junior Sherle Raimee. She has scored more open-field goals in two games then the Rams have all season. In all, Raimee has tallied 17 goals, more than double the closest in the conference and the most in the nation. 

The Rams believe they are only a couple of converted opportunities away from firing on all cylinders.

“We’re in the process of capitalizing in the final third [of the field],” sophomore Karli Eheart said. “We are getting a lot of shots, we’re just not putting them in.”

If players like sophomores Alley Murphy- Pauletto and Taylor Steinke, junior Caeley Lordemann and seniors Hannah Gerdin and Kaija Ornes can start to find the back of the net off the opportunities they are creating, the Rams will be set to climb from the middle of the standings. 

The only teams that have established outlier records are Boise State and San Jose State University. If the Rams had been able to convert a goal in either of their matches against Colorado College or San Diego State University, the team would be in third place in the conference.

The Rams feel the time is now for this team to finish their opportunities.

“We just need to get one in, and once we get one in, it will start to come,” senior Kaija Ornes said, 

The Rams got a ball in the net last Friday. This weekend will determine whether or not the lack of scoring is primed to subside.

Adam Williams can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @AdamJ_Williams